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How’s this for short-sightedness: The New South Wales Government’s infinite wisdom to increase taxes by $3.6 billion AUD to compensate for their years of inept mismanagement of states coffers will have a huge impact on the property sector at a time when it can least afford it.

NSW Labor Premier Nathan Rees and Treasurer Eric Roozendaal plans to raise $680 million by increasing the land tax rate from 1.6% to 2% for properties over $2.25 million in land value, essentially a 25% increase, which will increase holding costs for land owners, discourage developments and lead to an increase in rental charges.

The flow on from this will lead to further job losses in the property industry, which is already shedding staff at more than one hundred per week.

We argue that this is not the time for tax hikes, but for the government to show some innovative thought, boost confidence and stimulate the economy. Or at least start spending NSW tax payers money wisely. But then again, given the churn of Premiers in the state and thus their lack of accountability, what do they care?

Simon Turner

FYI: Read more articles on the Credit Crunch; or the NSW Government; or Interest Rates

Three stunning homes, three vacant blocks of land, and a water front parcel of land have just been listed by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes on Hope Island at Queensland’s Sanctuary Cove.

Sanctuary Cove is Australia’s leading lifestyle community offering wonderful facilities and 24 hour active land and water security. Sanctuary Cove has Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for all foreign investors. It is set over 474 hectares and offers fantastic lifestyle options that are complimented by two championship golf courses, four harbours, 15 restaurants, harbor-side cafes and fashion boutiques. Sanctuary Cove also features an extensive recreational club, a Country Club and the five-star Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove Hotel.

HOUSES:

3008 Hillside Walk – 711sq m – $1.125 million AUD

3009 Hillside Walk – 711sq m – $1.175 million AUD

3010 Hillside Walk – 711 sq m – $1.125 million AUD

VACANT LAND:

8081 Riverside Drive – 994 sq m – $1.125 million AUD

3012 Hillside Walk ; 3011 Hillside Walk; & 3006 Hillside Walk; – All 711 sq m – All $465,000 AUD

To view more information and see more images of each property, simply click on any of the images above. Alternatively, select this HOPE ISLAND link to go straight to all the properties and blocks of land available.

CONTACT: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email michael@marquetteturner.com.au OR Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email christine@marquetteturner.com.au

FYI: See related articles on Luxury Homes; or Investment Opportunity; or Queensland.

Encrusted with 220 carats of diamonds, the Gold & Diamond Chandelier has been created by London-based jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge. It is made from delicate links suspended in arcs to form a pear shape that ends in a sharp point, reminiscent of the central medallions of ancient Persian rugs. The Chandelier is 18 caret white gold that has been blackened to create a smoky effect.

Whilst Solange Azagury-Partridge has had no formal training, this exquisite design be the self-confessed “diamond lover” will be the centerpiece of Sebastian + Barquet‘s exhibit at Design Miami.

Simon Turner

FYI: See related articles on Interior Design; Luxury furniture; and Lights

More information: Check out the featured sites: Solange Azagury-Partridge; Sebastian + Barquet; Design Miami.

“The Red House Manor”, Quebec, QC, CANADA:Dating from 1608, the stunning and iconic “Old Red Manor” is unequivocally the oldest habitable building on the North American continent.

When Bertrand Chesnay de la Garenne received the Royal Concession in 1652, he found there “a solid ruin with three walls and a large stone fireplace of 5 feet long.” This is the left side of the Manor which contains the master fireplace. In 1764, the French Captain Cazeau added the second level, and the manor remained the property of the Cazeau family until 1940.

Restored in 2005-2006, to the most exacting standards of luxury and caring touch. It is 30 metres in length (96 ft) and 9 metres (30 ft) wide and has two levels, with multiple living, dining and entertaining areas, six generous bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. This property is for sale in two lots.

To view more information, images and the video click HERE.

Contact: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email Michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email Christine@marquetteturner.com.au

FYI: Read related articles on Worldwide Luxury Homes such as Bora Bora, TAHITI; Villas in Tuscany, ITALY; or Raffles in Manila, PHILIPPINES; or AUSTRALIA

It is World AIDS Week, and we were struck by the story of Ethan Zohn – the $1 million winner of Survivor in the US that pledged his winnings to the prevention of AIDS.  Utilising his soccer skills from his time in Zimbabwe, he started Grassroots Soccer,  a charity that seeks to educate African children in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Good on him.  We have made donations to our local organisations, and even if you are finding things tough, every little helps so please give what you can.

Please enjoy this week’s stories, or simply stay here and enjoy the MTLH blog.  We thank you!

Regards

Michael Marquette & Simon Turner

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.  Elie Wiesel

Continuing Marquette Turner’s theme of questioning what “Luxury is”, for this article we feature the largest Palace of the Sultan of Brunei.

The largest of the Sultan of Brunei’s four palaces, Istana Nurul Iman, is indisputably the world’s largest residential and administrative palace currently in use.

The palace is used for all State functions. It is both the seat of Brunei’s government and the location of the prime minister’s office. In addition to Audience and State Rooms, there is a Throne Chamber used for various occasions such as the proclamation of the Crown Prince and the annual Birthday Investiture.

At 2,152,782 square feet (200,000.0 m2) the palace has 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²). Amenities include 5 swimming pools, an air conditioned stable for the Sultan’s 200 polo ponies, a 110-car garage, a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, and a mosque accommodating 1,500 people. The palace was built in 1984 at a cost of around $400 million USD and has 564 chandeliers, 51,000 light bulbs, 44 stairwells, 18 elevators, and 13 (exterior) satellite dishes.

Furthermore, there’s a mosque for 1500 people, a banquet hall for 4000 guests, air conditioned stables for his 200 polo ponies, and 165 Rolls Royces, aeroplanes and helicopters.

The palace and its upkeep are funded by the oil wealth generated by Brunei, as are all of the grand structures in the country.

And even though the price of oil may have slumped, Brunei’s wealth still make perhaps the place to live right now, especially if long-term security is what you are after. Even though the people cannot vote, they pay no taxes, education and health care are free, everyone receives a pension, and the minimum wage is the highest in South-East Asia.

On the flip side, however, given the world’s massive reliance on oil and indeed the extravagance, and greed that it fosters, the extremes of rich and poor that are its result, is worth questioning what true “Luxury is.” I’ll leave that for you to define.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on The World’s Most…; or Palaces; or Luxury Homes; or “Luxury is…

Prices for real estate on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island have fallen significantly over the few quarters, with some dropping by as much as 40 percent. For instance, a four bedroom villa on the Palm is now on the market for AED10 million Dirhams, or approximately $2.6 million USD. This is down from AED15 million Dirhams or approximately $4 million USD in September.

The Palm Jumeirah is the largest man-made island in the world and is the first of three such projects being undertaken in the waters off Dubai.  The developer of these islands has noted a general slowdown in the rate of property sales on all three islands proving that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold!

Simon Turner

FYI:  Read related articles on Dubai; or Islands; or Luxury Homes

So in 2009, instead of worrying about missing out on the next big thing in luxury, focus on defining it. Declare that the end is nigh for anything that’s getting a little too affordable, too accessible, or just too well-known. Then introduce something very different (if not the opposite), appealing to the in-crowds ready to jump ship anyway.

An example from the hospitality industry: Named after the ‘rough luxury’ trend that was coined by the hotel’s owner, Rabih Age, Rough Luxe is a new London hotel with small, funky rooms, some of which share a bathroom, while also offering fine wines, plush bed linen, carefully curated art, and top-notch personal service.

In their own words: “Rough Luxe is a new way of looking at luxury as part of time and not only part of an object of consumption. Luxury is an enriching personal experience and not only an ownership or consumption of an expensive object. Therefore, the Rough Luxe definition of luxury is: time for reflection, personal encounters with people, nature, architecture and environment as well as food and social and cultural experiences linked to geographic locations.”

Taken from this month’s Trendwatching.

FYI: Read more articles on “Luxury is…“; or Hotels; or 2009

It’s worth imagining what 2009 could bring. I am a not a pessimist but it is worth glaring into the crystal ball and letting go of today and dreaming – dreaming it is December 2009.

Has the US Fed pumped trillions of dollars into the US economy and what has been the result? Have property prices stabilized and how is Citibank going? Has the bailout really cleaned out the poisoned loans? Let’s dream!

We have bailed out the 3 car manufacturers and we have bailed out the banks. The banks have hoarded money and monetary policy is having no effect. Interest rates are at the lowest level ever – 0% and the Dow is hovering around 5000 points. Superannuation has lost trillions and those that would be retiring have realized that another ten years of work is required (at least) to make retirement possible.

Small and medium manufacturers are all but gone – car companies are waiting to get supplies and difficult car finance is all but crippling sales. Many of the smaller car dealerships have closed, finding the credit crunch a hard go and the larger dealerships holding too large an inventory are closing. Surely more money will solve this, but maybe not! With monetary policy crippled what can President Obama do?

The Fed has decided to pump more money into the economy and inflation is now an issue. Inflation is a real problem, with OPEC deciding to reduce supply by a total of 10 million barrels a day to increase the price of oil. Their greed has accelerated issues in the economy with transport companies struggling to get paid by clients, forced redundancies and supply train chaos ensue.

Credit scarcity has caused loan delinquencies to flourish with 5 million US households in foreclosure. Prices continue to fall and Citibank is on a downward spiral. What are the options for President Obama? Let Citibank fail or pump yet more money into the economy? This will force the US dollar to fall even further and prices are going up and up.

The US economy is now at breaking point with reliant economies collapsing. There is no savior to come to the US aid – the world is simply not capable of saving the US as it’s too big. Japan and the EU are crippled. Is the US in recession, depression or bankrupt? With trillions of dollars of debt President Obama has few options.

This chance to imagine is just one example of what could be. There are so many variables and so much left to be answered. This situation would cause so much grief and I am an optimist, hoping and praying that our leaders find solutions to the problems we face. Solutions that are not only needed but vital to the livelihood of so many families and vital to the survival of the world superpower that we so rely on for our economic and military security.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read more articles on the Credit Crunch; or 2009; or US Economy

In the rolling Tuscan hills not far from the mythic cities of Florence, Siena and San Gimignano is one of the largest private landholdings in all of Italy. Two grand cypress-lined lanes ascend to a historic castle. Dotting the estate are restored Casali (farmhouses) each with dramatic glass-tiled private pools. This treasured property is Castello di Casole, the newest and most romantic addition to the Timbers Collection portfolio.

Castello di Casole has a home to suit you with residences located privately throughout the estate or together in an enclave, just steps away from a five-star hotel.

A Signature Development of Timbers Resorts, the Castello di Casole estate is one of the largest landholdings in all of Tuscany – a 4,200-acre game reserve and working agricultural estate actively producing vintage wine and olive oil.

Commanding the most favored sites throughout the property are the ruins of modest Casali, each of which are unique to each other and are separately named with their own custom style, layout and color scheme. Each Casale farmhouse is a collection of main home and outbuildings, which now serve as unique and inviting guest quarters. Indoor spaces for each family compound are 4,000 to 7,000 square feet or 370 to 650 square meters.

Prices range from 290,000 – 590,000 Euro for Residential Interests; Whole Ownership pricing starts at 3.7 million Euro.

To view more information, images and the video click HERE (or any of the images above). You can also visit the Castello di Casole website.

Contact Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email Michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email Christine@marquetteturner.com.au

The Reserve Bank has slashed interest rates to the lowest level in history to 4.25%. The Reserve Bank cut rates by a full 100 basis points (1%), making property an attractive option for those in search of investment options given the volatility of the stock market.

Australian interest rates have averaged over 8% for the last 59 years and the Bank has signaled that it is serious about avoiding a recession. It is projected that Australia will continue to grow in 2009 and avoid recession, one of the few nations predicted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to perform positively.

The massive rate reduction should give buyer confidence a boost and increase the level of buyer enquiry across all price ranges. We have started to see increased levels of enquiry from the United States with the current exchange rate hovering at $0.65-$0.66 US.

I believe that ex-pats and foreign investors will increasingly recognize the benefits of investing in the Australian property market.

Michael Marquette

Australia’s economy will avoid a recession next year, helped by lower interest rates, government spending and exports.

A recent Report (Economic Outlook No 84) by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that the Australian economy will grow 1.7 percent in 2009 from 2.5 percent this year, before accelerating to 2.7 percent in 2010, despite the depressed international economic environment, the impact of the financial crisis and the fall in the terms of trade should be relatively contained within Australia.


Furthermore, the OECD expects the Australian unemployment rate will increase to 6% from 4.3% by 2010 but inflation will ease.

The forecast is relatively glowing for Australia when compared to the other major economies of the world, stating that 21 of the 30 member economies of the OECD will go through a protracted recession of a magnitude not seen since the early 1980s.

In recent weeks new property listings have shown a substantial decline and this is likely due to the proximity of the Christmas period. Michael Marquette

FYI: Read related articles on Interest Rates; the Economy; and the Credit Crunch

More information: OECD Economic Outlook No 84

Weekly auction clearance rates do not paint a particularly clear picture. They have quite a small sample size and show a lot of week-to-week volatility.

If clearance rates are on the way up, does this signal an improving property market? Well maybe, but before we pass judgement on the state of the market, we really need to know what the clearance rates measure and what it means to the property investor.

Auction clearances give an instant snapshot of the market, telling us a lot about prices, suburbs and auctioneers. Auctions are far more prevalent in Melbourne and Sydney, at about 50% of market sales, where they are the dominant sales form in the sought-after suburbs.

Auctions account for a smaller portion of the market in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and in the outer suburbs and regional areas of all states. Where auctions are not the dominant method of sale, the clearance data is less meaningful.

Clearance rate information is compiled from real estate agents’ reports of properties sold at, before or after auctions. Investors should note that reporting is not mandatory and will not include properties withdrawn from sale.

Sharp-eyed investors will also notice differences between clearance rates reported by different newspapers, the Real Estate Institute in each state, and APM, which can be explained by timing differences of agents reporting over the weekend or when some agents won’t report failed auctions.

The real issue is not the clearance percentage at all; it’s the underlying volume of successful sales transactions. This gives investors a truer picture of the market. For instance, a falling clearance rate can superficially mask a strong market if the supply of property lifts over a short period, so it’s not as reliable an indicator as it first appears.

Plainly then, high clearance rates can point to insufficient supply rather than a buoyant market, and low clearance rates, particularly in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, may not reveal a strong volume of successful private sales.   Monique Wakelin, The Eureka Report

FYI: Read related articles on Auctions; Buying Real Estate; and Real Estate Market

Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” the movie is out in theaters/cinemas right now, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

The reviews have been mediocre – particularly in Australia – but for those of you who have yet to visit Australia or those that need a reminder of just how stunning the heartland of Australia is, we wouldn’t be proud Australian’s if we didn’t invite you to watch the movie!  For a small taste, please watch the trailer below.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Australia; Luxury Homes; and Nicole Kidman

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet on Tuesday 2 December and, the Marquette Turner team expect, they will make a fourth consecutive cut to the official interest rate.

A survey of 18 economists by the Australian Associated Press revealed the following:

  • All 18 economists believe the RBA will cut interest rates
  • 11 economists expect the rate to drop by 0.75% (75 basis points) putting interests rates at 4.5% (the lowest since June 2002)
  • 5 economists believe the cut will be 1% (100 basis points) leaving interest rates at 4.25%, the lowest level ever.

Time will tell who wins the bet, but home owners and buyers alike will be the winners of any rate cut.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Interest Rates; the Credit Crunch; and the Economy

“Bailout” has been named as the “Word of the Year”, being the word that has been searched the most in online dictionaries and has become suddenly infused into daily language.  “Turmoil” was up there too!

Things may be worse than they were perhaps a year ago, but please take a moment to think of all the good things.  During this Thanksgiving holiday – an American institution that surely everyone throughout the world should recognise – be thankful for what you’ve had, what you are, and what you can be.

One of the phrases Marquette Turner has coined is “Luxury is…” – this week we share with you some comments people have shared with us.

Please enjoy the stories in our blog, or you can go straight to the e-magazine.  We thank you!

Michael Marquette & Simon Turner

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Whatever level of real estate, at whatever price, there are still numerous stories of people that, whilst not necessarily “doing it tough” are still struggling to find success in the current real estate market.

The world’s greatest ever tennis player, Pete Sampras (based on Grand Slam titles I must add, before I get heaps of corrections!), recently sold his 10,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills, California for $2 million USD less than the $25 million USD he was looking for when he put it on the market in January 2008, having paid $8.3 million USD for the six bedroom property in December 2001.

For those interested, the property has six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms as well as its own guest house, gym, tennis court, and theater.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Homes of the Rich & Famous; Luxury Homes; Credit Crunch

Overseas property still remain enthusiastic when the right investment is presented to them, as the results of a campaign of 14,000 investors displayed when questioned on the subject of “Irresistible deals”.

investors were presented with the opportunity to acquire an apartment in Paris with a nine year rental guarantee, taxes paid by the government, 100% finance available and with a total investment requirement of $6,100 US (approximately $9,400 AUD , £4,000, 4,700 Euros)

The world of international property investing is changing. The sorts of deals available stack-up from every angle requiring low investment capital, they would have been unheard of a year or so ago.

Another example of what is now available to overseas investors can be seen with properties for sale in Buffalo, New York State where investment homes start from as low as £7,333 see example here: Low Cost Investment property

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Overseas Property Investment; Luxury Homes; Credit Crunch

More information: Currency Exchange http://www.xe.com (this is where we took our approximate figures from)

Even during these tough times, there are more millionaire households in the world than at any other time, with the growth highest in China and Europe.

The total number of millionaire households in the world (ie. those with assets of $US1 million or more) now stands at 9.6 million.

This represents only 0.7% of all households, owning $US33.2 trillion. This is a staggering one third of the world’s entire wealth which just goes to show the inequality of wealth.

Here’s the Top 10 of millionaire households, and I’ve also included the countries’ ranking for households with in excess of $US100 million (with Australia added on, given our Australian roots).

No. 1: USA

Total millionaire households: 4,585,000

Total population: 301,139,947
Total $100 million+ households: 2,300 (rank: 1)

Bill & Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet

No. 2: Japan

Total millionaire households: 830,000
Total population: 127,433,494
Total $100 million+ households: 1,300 (rank: 2)

Softbank President Masayoshi Son with Actress Ava Ueto

No. 3: Britain

Total millionaire households: 610,000
Total population: 60,776,238
Total $100 million+ households: 810 (rank: 3)

Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson

No. 4: Germany

Total millionaire households: 350,000
Total population: 82,400,996
Total $100 million+ households: 620

No. 5: China

Total millionaire households: 310,000
Total population: 1,321,851,888
Total $100 million+ households: 180 (rank: 13)

No. 6: Italy

Total millionaire households: 270,000
Total population: 58,147,733
Total $100 million+ households: 530 (rank: 5)

No. 7: France

Total millionaire households: 265,000
Total population: 63,713,926
Total $100 million+ households: 260 (rank: 9)

No. 8: Taiwan

Total millionaire households: 220,000
Total population: 22,858,872
Total $100 million+ households: unknown

No. 9: Switzerland

Total millionaire households: 205,000
Total population: 7,554,661
Total $100 million+ households: 300 (rank:8)

No. 10: Brazil

Total millionaire households: 190,000
Total population: 190,010,647
Total $100 million+ households: 210 (rank: 10)

No. 13: Australia

Total millionaire households: 135,000
Total population: 20,434,176
Total $100 million+ households: 150 (rank: 14)

PBL Chairman, James Packer

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on The World’s Most Expensive…; Luxury Homes; and Warren Buffet

More information: Figures taken from a study by Boston Consulting Group

In a world that can be brutal, harsh and tough going it is worth taking time to consider what we have enjoyed and what it means to us.

I thought it was an important time to consider what “Luxury” means to us all. It’s a chance to reflect over Thanksgiving and put into words what we can too often take for granted. The “Luxury is” is an amazing combination of two words – it is amazing because it causes us all to feel something, to imagine.

So what is Luxury to you? In 50 words or less write what “Luxury is” to you. We will publish as many responses as possible. Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael Marquette: Luxury is more than I can touch, it’s intangible. Luxury is an emotion, felt when I dare to dream of something that I value, that I have desired. It drives me forward, forces me to act, allows me to feel special, successful, spoiled, lucky – fortunate in every way.

Christine Watson: Luxury is the feeling of soft silk on your skin, wearing diamonds and pearls, rose petals scattered everywhere, being pampered and spoiled. Luxury is first class air travel, a personal valet, and Jimmy Choo shoes. Luxury is not having the need for anything, only the want.

Simon Turner: The ability to say sorry. The capacity to say I’m wrong. Knowledge: the desire to increase it and the timeliness of drawing upon it. Peace & Quiet. Happiness, Healthiness and Hope. Intangible.

Alex Lee: Luxury is excellence achieved.

Amy Cooper: Luxury to me involves good friends, wine and seafood in an ambient waterfront location! It also involves hot men, but let’s not go there!

Jayke Menese: Luxury is a home in Montreaux with a view of Lake Geneva. Can’t get better than that. The best setting and views in the world…”

Kevin Hussein Nguyen: Luxury is getting a full night’s rest, uninterrupted by nothing but sweet dreams.”

Thank you to everyone for sharing!

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